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May 11 2012

About the questions being asked

Another thing, on the matter of Edwina Rogers.

I was re-reading that contested part of Greta’s interview with Roy Speckhardt in a post of Chris Hallquist’s -

I don’t take your characterization as accurate that she was being evasive. I listened to her interview, and actually, the first thing I thought of was, “Gosh, you know, I’ve done a lot of media interviews, and if you do media interviews, you learn how to get your talking points across and not worry, necessarily, all the time about the questions being asked. If you want to get your own message across, this is a technique that you’ve got to learn, to get out there and put across your viewpoint.”

And I had another thought about it.

Yes, ok, it probably is a technique you have to learn, if you want to get your own message across. It’s true that we don’t want to be naive about this and just say let the best argument win, because interviewers can have agendas and it would be stupid to simply comply with what the interviewer wants no matter what. But.

But. Doing things that way rules out doing things a different way, and if you learn the technique so thoroughly or enthusiastically that it becomes the only one you know, then you become simply a talking agenda, and that seems a bad thing for the Executive Director of the SCA. It might be all right for a designated PR person for the SCA, for someone whose only job was to get a particular message across, but surely as ED Rogers has more jobs to do than just getting a particular message across. I get that that’s a big part of her job, but it’s not all of it, is it?

And it’s not a good general technique to focus like a laser on your own message and blank out all questions. That’s not a technique so much as a disability. An unchanging pre-determined message that is non-responsive to questions makes a good definition of religion, and secular thinking should be the opposite of that. Secular thinking (properly conducted) is responsive and open and cumulative and flexible. Dialogue is of the essence. Dialogue isn’t dialogue if one party just sticks to a message the whole time.

I think this is part of the broad unease about the appointment. She might be a brilliant hire as the head of PR, but not as ED.

7 comments

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  1. 1
    Raging Bee

    And it’s not a good general technique to focus like a laser on your own message and blank out all questions.

    It’s especially ungood for a lobbyist, because the people you’re lobbying are bound to have questions, which you’ll need to answer to THEIR satisfaction (not yours or your party’s), otherwise you won’t convince them. Duh.

  2. 2
    Ophelia Benson

    Ah good point. I didn’t think of that.

  3. 3
    evilDoug

    If I were an interviewer, I wouldn’t bother with people who behave that way. If all they are going to do is deliver a prepared sermon, let ‘em find their own damned pulpit or soapbox – mine, and my time, can be put to better use.

  4. 4
    Ophelia Benson

    You have a soapbox? You lucky.

  5. 5
    katkinkate

    She has to speak to her audience. Speaking like a politician might be acceptable to those she’s lobbying to but it just makes those she’s working for suspicious.

  6. 6
    evilDoug

    (re: soapbox)

    (small sob) No, actually I doesn’t haz soapbox. It’s a Rubbermaid standy-ony-thingy I sometimes use when changing light bulbs – but it only takes ONE of me to do that.

    By the time Greta interviewed her, Rogers must have been aware that she (Rogers) had attracted a lot of doubts as to her suitability for the job. While Greta’s name may not be a household one, I got almost a quarter of a million hits on a Google search for “greta christina”, though I don’t know if all of them were for our Greta, If Rogers had done the same, and spent just a few minutes looking at some of the things that came up, she would (or should) have realized that Greta is a reasonably well known personality in the US secular community – someone with a something of a soapbox. Greta was presenting Rogers with an opportunity to make a case for herself as the right person for the job. Instead of grasping the opportunity, she showed little respect for Greta or her audience, and boldly snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory.

    In the morning …

  7. 7
    evilDoug

    botched link

    In the morning …

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